Thursday, August 24, 2017

#FASHIONWEEK: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS 2017 by Monde Mtsi

Generally speaking, I lost my flair for fashion weeks in South Africa a while ago. A good three years ago to be honest. I think part-and-parcel of my dismay has been the fact that we have a million platforms instead of two: one focusing on menswear and one focusing on womenswear. Of course, we’re you’re someone without power, finance, friends in government or a strong ally in your camp, your voice will likely go unnoticed. Anyway, that’s a memoir for another day. Right now, I’d like to share a few mildly over-rated comments on the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Joburg 2017 which saw a number of designers showcase their concepts for the coming Spring Summer 2017 seasons.

Before I get into it, in no particular order of designer or day of their show; I wasn’t there personally to view these collections, I’m working all this off images. So chances are, some comments on fabrications might be misguided, therefore I apologise upfront for that. Also, I was a little annoyed that African Fashion International has budget to spend on flying “influencers” from Joburg down to Cape Town for fashion week when they only report on what they wore and who they hung out with, instead of reporting on the fashion on the runway.

Again, anyway, that is a topic for another post on another day. Right now: African Fashion International with title sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, in what is whispered to be their last headlining sponsor of this event, hosted a horde of fashion people for the annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Joburg 2017 spectacle. This time around, the event found a new home in the Waterfall Park of the Mall Of Africa. A grand venue for an event with plenty of grandeur.  Between the 16th – 19th August, designers such as Marianne Fassler, KLUK CGDT, David Tlale, Sheria Ngowi, Quiteria & George, sent designer look after designer look down the runway in a bid to steal hearts and attach themselves to people’s credit cards. Did they succeed? Only their sales will know. But we’re not here for that.

As opposed to the usually sublime critique of terrible collections, I’m going to focus on the moments that made it down the runway and for good reason. Here and there I might throw in a sigh of disappointment but not without backing it up. So perhaps make some tea, put on some soothing background music and enjoy a quick read of my moments from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Joburg 2017.

SCALO produced an overall beautiful collection. True to form, the womenswear was red carpet ready and had enough glitz and glamour to water any lady’s eyes and as for the menswear, not quite there yet, but definitely worth noting. What worked for the offering were two aspects: fabric choice and details. Lightweight and breathable, the fabric choices also look polished and opulent, allowing the wearing to stay cool while look expensive. The devil in the details included the panelling in the tailored jackets. The play on two different colours adds to the shape and design styling, making it a bit more interesting than a standard jacket. 

I was also particularly attracted to the lapel of the jumpsuit (again, I might be wrong as I am basing this on an image – therefore it might be a two-piece). The softly folding 1-piece lapel, shortened in length creates a fresh shape making it interesting to look at; it also happens to bring it more into the contemporary and the sleeves give it a great summer edge – allowing it to be an ensemble for both day and night.

Q&G... I’m not sure how I feel about their collection in its entirety. Perhaps it’s more about the fabric choices than anything else. Like, yeah, this scuba-net fabric has been done. Perhaps not in evening wear and what would-be cocktail gala event vibes, but it has. Maybe the idea was to athleisure the evening wear for a younger market still falling within their price bracket. Anyway, I’m not a womenswear commentator now am I.

So let me get on with the menswear. Not the best offering. It’s making a feature because of the colour choice of the fabric and the outerwear pieces, specifically. For starters, the shorts should have been presented as short-shorts, shorts and Bermuda shorts. I’m a fan of cropped pants at the moment – they work – and shoes are being designed to be showcased properly, meaning no fabric dangling on them in public. I’m a fan of the outerwear, especially because the overcoats without white piping look more formal and the ones with piping having a younger edge. I’m loving the colour as indigo is a superbly cooling colour in summer and looks incredible gorgeous against darker complexions. And as for the pyjama look, well I guess I would have inverted the colours: have the blush be the blue and the blue floral print be the blush. We’ve seen enough pink on a man. Statement done and dusted.

This will be brief, not because there is nothing much to say but because there are only a few important aspects to factor for their feature in this commentary: A) They have produced a range for men that is cohesive, from first men’s look to the last; B) The range offers denim, locally made, which is rare in this country and therefore credit must be given for that offering; C) The offering has an edgy ready-to-wear street etiquette about it. It’s low-key skater, mixed with street with added fashion to ensure a balance between athleisure and glamour. It’s pretty much fail-proof in industry terms. I want pieces from this collection, that’s how hot and versatile it is.

Essentially, not enough great menswear moments on this platform to justify their presence. The hype is not enough. People need to buy and the right audience needs to ensure it gets in on the action. Retail ready collections and brands are good to go, but for how long? We live in an environment where fast fashion happens faster than an order of your McD meal. European retailers have infiltrated and a greater need for easy to access great fashion has arisen. Local retailers can’t meet this demand, but local designers can, if they create fashion practical and as fashion-forward if not more stylish than those coming in from the Zaras’ and H&Ms’.

#menswear #mbfwj17 #ss2017 #fashion #style

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